Christian Apologetics – a comprehensive guide for biblical faith

A comprehensive case for biblical faith
By Douglas Groothuis
IVP. 752 pages. £24.99 (hardback)
ISBN 978 1 844 745 395

Some may confuse apologetics with the art of saying sorry, but Groothuis demonstrates that Christians have nothing to apologise for.

Proper Christian apologetics is the defence of the faith against objections. Because apologetics covers so many issues, objections and doctrines, it can be daunting for a Christian to know where to begin. This massive, single volume work provides one of the best overviews of the entire subject this reviewer has ever read.

Douglas Groothuis has written numerous books related to specific themes in apologetics, particularly on the deity of Christ and contemporary culture. Running to more than 700 pages, this superbly produced hardback covers almost every theme one could want in some detail. It is thoroughly up to date, engaging with authors like Christopher Hitchens and Brian McLaren, while drawing deeply on centuries of Christian thought.

Truth and reason

The first section evaluates various approaches to apologetics and how Christians can continue to believe in truth and reason in a culture where these very concepts are dismissed as out of touch. The second section pursues a range of arguments for the existence of God, including philosophical, moral and those based on intelligent design. This leads to a number of chapters on the historicity of Jesus and his resurrection. The third section deals with objections based on the fact that there are many world religions (so why should Christianity be uniquely true?) and the problem of pain (how can a good God allow such evil?). Also included are useful essays by Craig Blomberg and Richard Hess on the New and Old Testaments respectively.

Written with clarity, precision and an infectious enthusiasm for the matters at hand, this will make an indispensable textbook. It lends itself to being dipped into rather than read cover to cover. On the more controversial issues, Groothuis is sensitive and fair — obviously Christians will disagree over issues like the value of Intelligent Design arguments and the relationship of human free will to the problem of evil. But everyone would benefit from this robust dose of common sense, credible apologetics. Given its length and detail, it probably is not the first book to read on the subject. For that a reader might turn to William Lane Craig’s On Guard, but this is certainly a book to take one to the heights.

Chris Sinkinson,
lecturer in apologetics at Moorlands Bible College, Bournemouth